The Networking Book

People Connecting with People

by Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps

A network is a web of free-standing participants cohering through shared values. Networking is the process of people connecting with people, linking ideas and resources.

Foreword by R. Buckminister Fuller
Back Copy

Published by Routledge & Kegan Paul in 1986

Foreword by R. Buckminster Fuller

The world-integrating networking self-multiplies and accelerates. Never ever traveling as a tourist, I myself have been induced into forty-eight complete encirclements of our planet and everywhere I go I meet more and more people whom I had met elsewhere. Ever more widely traveling, literate, well-informed individuals discover that they, and an ever-faster increasing number of other humans, are becoming intuitively aware that life is breaking them out of the ages-long anonymous life patterning of the beehive drone. They experience newborn hope that humans have indeed a destiny of individual significance complementary to the integrity of other individuals.

The networking accelerates as does the light in Einstein's equations E- Mc2. The lower case c is the symbol for the linear speed of light, 186,000 miles per second. When not reflectively focused, light expands omniradially as a sphere growing in any one direction at 186,000 miles per second. The rate of surface growth of a spherical wave system is always the second power of the linear growth. That is why it is c2 in Einstein's equation, which means 186,000 x 186,000 miles of surface growth per second. So it is with thought which travels outwardly in all directions to internet-work the people of our 8,000-mile-diameter spherical space home.

As the networking accelerates humanity into a spherically embracing, spontaneous union, yesterday's locally autonomous, self-preoccupied governments will find that trying to arrest networking is like trying to arrest the waves of the ocean.

Spaceship Earth now has 150 admirals. The five admirals in the staterooms immediately above the ship's fuel tanks claim that they "own" the oil. The admirals with staterooms surrounding the ship's kitchen, dining rooms and food refrigerators claim they own all the food. Those with a stateroom next to a lifeboat claim that they own the lifeboat and so forth. They then have a ship's game called balance of trade. Very soon the majority of admirals have a deficit balance. All the while, the starboard-side admiral are secretly planning to list the boat to port so far as to drown the portside admirals, while the portside admirals are secretly trying to list the boat to starboard so badly as to drown the starboard-side admirals. Nobody is paying any attention to operating the ship or steering it to some port. They run out of food and fuel. They discover that they can no longer reach a port of supply. Finis.

Humanity is now experiencing history's most difficult evolutionary transformation. We are changing from a 95 percent illiterate and rooted lifestyle. We are almost unconsciously drifting away form self-identity with out for-ages-long-physically-remote-from-one-another existence as 150 separate, sovereign nations. Now the uprooted humans of all nations are spontaneously deploying into their physically integrated highways-airways, satellite-relayed world-around telephone speakways and big-city waystationed world living system.

We may soon be atom-bombed into extinction by the pre-emptive folly of the exclusively for money-making supranational corporations' weaponry industry's political puppet administrators of the now hopelessly bankrupt greatest weapons-manufacturing nations.

If not bomb-terminated we are on our ever-swifter way to becoming an omni-integrated, majorly literate, unified Spaceship Earth society.

The new human networks emergence represents the natural evolutionary expansion into the just completed, thirty-years-in-its-building, world-embracing, physical communications network. The new reorienting of human "networking" constitutes the heart and mind pumped flow of life and intellect into the world arteries.



This book wants to be in print.

In October 1979, we began our research on networks and networking by writing a short letter to one person in rural Alabama. Robert A. Smith, III, responded, sending us the names of nine people interested in networking.

We wrote to them, and they to us, referring us on to more people. By the time we finished the original research, we'd received the names of roughly 50,000 people and organizations around the world, from village councils to multinational corporations.

We wrote to 4,000 of them; 1,500 answered, and those were the people we wrote about in Networking: The First Report and Directory, published by Doubleday & Company in April 1982.

We continued to hear from networkers. At the end of that year, we incorporated The Networking Institute to publish information and develop tools for networking - a newsletter, journal, membership directory, and mailing list.

In 1985, we started to develop computer networking systems - using computers and telecommunications to help people connect with people - including the regional New England Commons and the larger-scale International Commons.

One of the people whom we contacted early in our network research is Yoneji Masuda, the Japanese computer visionary, author of many books, and an advocate of networking through telecommunications. In 1984, under the guidance of Mr. Masuda, the text of the first edition of Networking was published in Japan by President-sha, having been translated by the Japanese government.

The lively Japanese interest in networking is a harbinger for the rest of the world. While the theme of our original book was "Another America," the theme of this book is the "Invisible Planet." Networks around the globe connect people.

Eileen Wood Campbell, and editor at Routledge & Kegan Paul in London, encouraged us to revise the original text of the book, and republish it with her company.

What appears here includes many pieces that we have written for Networking Institute publications during the past several years. When it came time to revise the 1982 book, we realized that we had simply continued to "write" the revision manuscript since the book's first publication.

And that process continues.


Table ofContents

Foreward by R. Buckminster Fuller



Chapter 1
Discovering Networking

Chapter 2
One very special network: the Boston Women's Health Book Collective

Chapter 3
Networking in practice

Chapter 4
Caretakers of the planet

Chapter 5
Struggles for the basics

Chapter 6
Inner networking

Chapter 7
Networking with computers

Chapter 8
Global mind

Chapter 9
A network model

Chapter 10
Evolving networks

Network directory



Back Copy

Each epoch of civilization has its unique organizational form. If bureaucracy was the natural response to industrialism, then networking is the natural response to an era based on information technology.

A network is a web of free-standing participants cohering through shared values. Networking is the process of people connecting with people, linking ideas and resources. At a moment of intense global peril, networks link people of like minds and similar interests into a community of possibility that networkers call the Invisible Planet.

The Networking Book profiles hundreds of such organizations that call themselves networks and which promote the process of networking. The networks it principally concerns itself with are those whose shared aim is to create a peaceful yet dynamic future for the world. Networking is a global form of organization based on individual participation, rather than hierarchy, to achieve this goal. It also has applications in many other spheres of human activity, such as education and business.

Based on correspondence with thousands of networks around the world, the book presents a comprehensive account of networking. It depicts networkers - the 'sparkplugs' who set networks in motion - using a side range of technologies, everything from word-of-mouth to global telecommunications.